The year 2009 saw criminal cases of different dimensions afflicting Botswana. Amongst those legal cases which made headlines are the following cases:
ÔÇó A case in which the former Managing Director of Debswana, Louis Nchindo, his son Garvas, Joe Matome and Jacob Sesinyi are facing 33 charges of corruption. The case is currently at its preliminary stages both in the Magistrate Courts, where Regional Magistrate, Lot Moroka, is presiding over the criminal case and in the High Court, where Lobatse High Court judge Lashkavinder Walia is presiding over a case. Earlier this year, the case was postponed after Lobatse High Court Judge Maruping Dibotelo ordered that it be postponed till all the appeals concerning the case in the High Court had been finalized. Nchindo and others had filed appeals on the matters concerning the charge sheets which they argued were not clear and did not disclose their offence. They also filed another appeal on the issue of a constraining order that the state wanted to be granted being unconstitutional. Finally Dibotelo ruled in favour of the judgment earlier on passed by Moroka that the charges were clear and disclosed the offence clearly .Walia on the other hand ruled that the restraining order demanded by the state was not unconstitutional.
ÔÇó There was also a case in which the Managing Director of Daisy Loo, Moemedi Dijeng, Frank Molaletsi, Gilbert Sithole and Bitsang Abbey are charged with corruption in relation of a bush clearing tender to Daisy Loo.
This long drawn out case also got back on track after long adjournments caused by the resignation of Terence Rannowane to become a deputy judge in Francistown High Court. After this, there was the demand that the magistrate who was chosen to preside over the case, Takura Charumbira, should recuse himself, which he did after initially dismissing the application which was made by Joar Salbany. Salbany’s argument for recusal was that, as a Deputy Master and Registrar of the High Court, Charumbira had handled the matter before. Then, after that, one of the lawyers fell ill and the matter was again postponed.
ÔÇó Former Gaborone City Council employee, Mmoniemang Molapisi, and the former Department of Lands employee, Andrew Ruganisisa, appeared in Court for having lied under oath resulting in allocation of land that was supposed to be used for construction of a public school to a private land owner who constructed a private school on a piece of land in Block 9.
ÔÇó Zimbabwean citizens, Abel Nyasha, Isaac Ngoma and Hluphekile Dube appeared in the Lobatse High Court before acting judge Gabriel Rwelengera charged with the murder of an Indian citizen, Raijubhai Patel, and stealing money of different currencies from him. Ngoma has since turned to be a state witness in the matter. Nyasha has recently instructed Gaborone lawyer Dick Bayford to represent him on pro deo basis after turning down several other lawyers’ representation.
ÔÇó Another Zimbabwean, Gerald Dube, is currently awaiting execution after he murdered his woman cousin, who was a lawyer, her two children and a maid. The Court of Appeal rejected his appeal.
ÔÇó In a first case of its type to reach the Courts, two males were charged with living beyond their means. The two, Victor Basinyi and Omphitlhetse Mmoloki, are alleged to have been found in possession and control of property that reflected a standard of living not commensurate with their present or past known sources of income.
ÔÇó Two Botswana Congress Party activists appeared in Court for allegedly storming BTV studios. The two are the party’s Youth League leader Lotty Monyapetsa and its Secretary General Victor Sesinyi. They were apparently protesting about their party’s exclusion from debates in the studio.
ÔÇó A South African citizen who is alleged to have taken part in the P5 million armed robbery at the Sir Seretse Khama Airport four years ago, Sikhumbiso Ricardo Mlopsa, appeared in Court before Southern Region Magistrate Lot Moroka after he was extradited from South Africa.
ÔÇó In appeals that were won, an Okavango Delta resident, Loeto Baitsholedi of Samuchima Village who had been sentenced to death by a Francistown High Court judge, won an appeal against his sentence at the Court of Appeal. He had been sentenced to death for having killed a man he had borrowed a rifle from.
ÔÇó Chairman of Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board Armando Lionjanga won appeal against one and half years jail sentence wholly suspended for corruption. He was found guilty of having taken part in deliberations in which his nephew was awarded a tender by DPPDB.
ÔÇó Former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, Elvidges Mhlauli, also won an appeal against a seven-year jail sentence for corruption and abuse of office. He was found guilty of having authorized that a piece of land be given to a Gaborone business man, Eddie Norman, instead of Kadimo Oremeng who had applied for the piece of land before Norman.